Officials: Propane heater sparked Grover mill fire

Officials: Propane heater sparked Grover mill fire

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by ELIZABETH THOMAS / WCNC.com

WCNC.com

Posted on March 7, 2013 at 8:53 PM

Updated Saturday, Nov 2 at 2:54 AM

GROVER, N.C. -- The Cleveland County Fire Marshal's Office said on Friday a propane heater malfunction and caused Grover mill fire.

Fire crews battled the huge blaze at the mill Thursday evening and into Friday morning.

The building, which used to be the Cameron Plant, on North Main Street in Grover was engulfed in flames shortly after 5 p.m.  At 6:30 a.m. Friday crews were back out at the scene putting out hot spots. 

(Click see images from the fire)

Nearly a dozen different fire departments from two states responded to help extinguish the flames, but officials said the fire was so large that firefighters had to take a defensive position initially.

Cleveland County EMS told NBC Charlotte that no injuries were reported. Authorities said at the time of the fire two men were working around the plant, which is now used as a warehouse for hay and other items, but escaped unharmed.

Just before 10 p.m., officials said that the fire was under control.

The Cleveland County Fire Marshal's Office said it will take two weeks to clean up the damage caused by the fire.

The mill had hay and building material inside during the time of the fire. A house next to the mill was damaged during the fire, according to the fire marshal.

Fire officials said fire hydrants near by provided water for two hours during the fire, but then ran dry. Firefighters had to rely on water from the fire truck tankers.

Officials also said if the hyrdatns provided more water and pressure they could have put out the fire sooner and possible saved the mill.

Many people, like Michael Crocker, gathered around the scene to trade memories.

"That's our history going up in flames," said Crocker,"my mom and dad both worked there. Now when you drive by it will just be burnt rubble."

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